H-1B Visa: Specialty Occupation Temporary Workers

At the Jain Law Group, we have handled numerous cases and have the necessary experience involving H-1B Visas. The H1B Visa allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require expertise in the field of the specialty occupation. Generally, an H-1B Visa applicant must possess at least a bachelor’s degree. The H-1B visa holders can be employed by the petitioning company for up to six years.

Visa cap

H1B visas are subject to annual cap and the US employers can begin applying for the H-1B petition after April 1. Upon approval of the H1B petition, the foreign worker may start working starting October 1. The immigration fiscal year is from October 1st through September 30th.

Each fiscal year, 85,000 H1B visas become available which includes 65,000 issued for overseas workers in professional or specialty occupation positions, and an additional 20,000 for those with an advanced degree from a U.S. academic institution. When the visa cap is reached, USCIS will no longer accepting H-1B petitions.


The H-1B visas are issued for individuals who will be working in specialty occupations. The job must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:

1. Have a minimum requirement of a Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent.

2. The required degree for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree.

3. The degree or its equivalent for the position is normally required by the petitioning employer.

4. The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.

To qualify for the specialty occupation, the foreign worker must meet one of the following criteria:

1. Completed a bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university.

2. The degree earned outside the U.S. must be equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree in the specialty occupation.

3. Any state license, registration, or certification the foreign worker holds must allow the individual to practice in the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment.

4. Must hold education, training, or experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and the positions held must be progressive and responsible and directly related to the specialty.

Period of Employment

The H-1B visa is granted for up to three years and may be extended to a maximum of six years. During the employment period, the H-1B visa holder may apply for and obtain a US Green Card.


The H-1B visa holder’s spouse and children under 21 years of age may apply for H-4 to follow. Unlike L-2 holders, the spouses of H-1B holders are not allowed employment authorization in the U.S.

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